A series of Farmers Field School (FFS) trainings was conducted by KFI’s Bread for the World-assisted “Food is Peace” project in the municipality of Sultan Sumagka (formerly Talitay), Maguindanao Province during the months of March and April this year.
The conduct of said trainings was a result of the consultations made by the project with farmers’ organizations in Sultan Sumagka and Datu Anggal Midtimbang (DAM) early this year, says project manager Norlyn Odin.
Unlike traditional approaches, which rely on extension workers providing advice to farmers, FFS enable groups of farmers to find out the answers for themselves, i.e., they can develop solutions to their own problems.
On March 3-7, 2012, a total of 23 participants composed of leaders of farmers’ associations, project staff and an officer of MADAKIL People’s Organization (MPOI), an umbrella of farmers’ organization in the area, took part in a FFS Trainers Training held in Barangay Kuden, Sultan Sumagka.
This was then followed by community-based FFS on vegetable production conducted in Barangay Gadungan on April 16-24 with 35 farmers, 13 of them women, as participants.
The training centered on the principles of FFS and basic knowledge on growing vegetables, particularly on the process of seed and site selection, germination, transplanting, monitoring and pest management. Moreover, participants were taught how to build trellis and how to make natural concoctions to improve soil fertility and manage pests.
Farm trials were later conducted on April 25-30 with 41 farmer participants from Gadungan, Manggay, Makadayon (all of Sultan Sumagka), and Barangay Tulunan of DAM.
The Food is Peace project was officially launched on March 9-10, 2011 with primary objectives of improving food security and promoting peace and participatory democracy in the two towns under its coverage.
In January 26-27 this year, Anna Niklasch, head of the Asian Department of the German-based Bread for the World, visited the project areas and held meetings and dialogue with both partner organizations and local government officials.